2012 Advancing Ethical Research Conference: Beyond the sessions

by Jackie Tekiela, MS, CIP, Institutional Review Board (IRB) Administrator at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
I really enjoyed the presentations, sessions, and events that I attended at the 2012 Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference. As expected, there was great variety and quality throughout all of the offerings. I hope that you took advantage of them as well! Here are a few of my favorites:

Blog Squad: Too obvious? Writing for Ampersand has been a fun, rewarding part of my conference experience and the red Blog Squad t-shirt was an added bonus. As I’m sure was the intent, it makes members of the PRIM&R Blog Squad much more visible, and I’ve met so many amazing people who’ve recognized the shirt. Think the Blog Squad is a neat idea? Want to be a member of team? Be on the lookout for the Blog Squad application for the 2013 AER Conference, and you too can join the fun!

Morning entertainment: As I was walking from the hotel the first morning of the conference, singing “Call Me Maybe” in my head, I wondered about what the Welcome Session would hold. For those of you not attending, the Welcome Session on Tuesday, December 4, included a parody of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” by Ivor Pritchard, PhD, and Michele Russell-Einhorn, JD. It was great. I think attendees appreciate all the hard work that the Conference Co-Chairs invest in starting the day with some fun, light-hearted entertainment

Lunch: It’s nice to take a break after the morning sessions and enjoy the beautiful San Diego weather. It’s also a great opportunity to process what you’ve heard, chat with some new friends, or make a few more! Lunch time at AER offers the opportunity for some “special guest” meals, and demonstrations such as PRIM&R’s Online Course and Knowledge Center. You can also visit the conference Bookstore, peruse the posters, browse the Job Board, or check out the Tuskegee commemoration exhibit, “The Greater Good: An Artist’s Contemporary View of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.”

Affinity groups: During the conference, PRIM&R organizes affinity Groups (small groups of people who share areas of specialized professional interest), which are designed to foster networking and community building before, during, and after the conference. Seven interest groups were represented at Affinity Group events: Global Research, Institutional Officials (IOs), IRB Chairs, Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QA/QI), Small Institutions, Social, Behavioral, and Educational Research (SBER), and Unaffiliated/Community Members. Being from a small institution, I found the Affinity Groups program a helpful way to network and share ideas with others who have similar concerns to mine.

If you haven’t been able to take advantage of these “extras,” don’t worry—there’s always next year! Stay informed about the programs, events, and special opportunities that will be offered at the 2013 AER Conference by visiting PRIM&R’s website.